Hidden in plain sight: Garbage mountain under Sanchaung street

Garbage truck with trash from drains at the corner of Bagaya and Baho road in Sanchaung township via Sanchaung MP Bo Bo Oo via Bo Bo Oo’s Facebook page.
Garbage truck with trash from drains at the corner of Bagaya and Baho road in Sanchaung township via Sanchaung MP Bo Bo Oo via Bo Bo Oo’s Facebook page.

You kind of need to see it to believe it, a pile of water bottles, plastic bags and discarded food large enough to fill a garbage truck — all found hiding just below the surface of a single street in Yangon’s Sanchaung neighborhood.

စမ္းေခ်ာင္း ဗားကရာလမ္းႏွင့္ ဗဟိုလမ္းဆံုရာအနီး ေျမာင္းတြင္း ပိတ္ဆို႔အမိႈက္ ဖယ္ရွားျခင္း……..

U Bo Bo Oo – ဘိုဘိုဦး 发布于 2019年5月15日周三

Manual laborers from the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) yesterday joined fire and police officers in dredging out the mountain of trash from the drains on the corner of Bagaya and Baho roads and the sewer beneath, photos of which were uploaded to Sanchaung MP Bo Bo Oo’s official Facebook page.

Copied Nyi Myint Myatယ​ေန႔ (15/5/19)ဗားဂရာလမ္​း ႏွင္​့ ဗဟိုလမ္​း ​ေထာင္​့တြင္​ Underground…

U Bo Bo Oo – ဘိုဘိုဦး 发布于 2019年5月15日周三

YCDC workers were knee-deep in the muck once again today, working to unclog the city’s sewers ahead of the rainy season, when Yangon’s neighborhoods become flooded, in part due to the lackluster maintenance of its drainage systems and in large part due to clogged drains and sewers.

ယ​ေန႔ ဒုတိယ​ေန႔ ၊ ဗဟိုလမ္​း ႏွင္​့ ဗားဂရာလမ္​း​ေထာင္​့ …

Nyi Myint Myat 发布于 2019年5月15日周三

Alex Aung Khant, youth activist and founder and executive director of URBANIZE, an urban and regional planning policy institute, told Coconuts Yangon, that clogged drains, caused by plastic waste, bad design and technical matters “are the reason for flooding,” and that this example is an “opportunity to engage the public” with the scope of the issue and think broadly about addressing the root of the city’s trash disposal problems.

“Let’s stop repeating this every year. We can’t treat this as another everyday incident. [We should] use this as an example, as a fuel, to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said. “We need to engage businesses because this trash is the by-product of their products. If we can cut down on what we throw away and increase the city’s capacity, this can be solved.”

The 25-year-old, the youngest candidate to run for Constituency 3 in Yangon’s municipal elections, penned an insightful think piece in online forum the Tea Circle Oxford back in 2017 that reflected on the cyclical nature of Yangon’s urban problems, highlighting the improper management of the city’s infrastructure issues, in particular, the YCDC’s reliance on day laborers to dredge the drains.

According to Aung Khant, the men who are repeatedly sent below ground to clear up the garbage carelessly tossed into Yangon’s drains are being put at risk of infections or worse.

“Who’s going to be responsible for these workers? They are working in flip-flops and longyis while YCDC officials are standing around the drains,” he wrote at the time.

Attempts to reach the Sanchaung MP were unsuccessful.

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